Nick Kyrgios, 2nd from right, answers questions from kids during a training session at the National Sports Club in Lyneham yesterday. From left are, Jules Paulin- Elgar 9, Theodore Paulin- Elgar 6 (obscured), Jack Gibson 6, Daniel Connors 9, Lachlan Mertz 8, Nick Kyrgios and ACT National Academy coach Todd Larkham. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra's emerging tennis star Nick Kyrgios grew up fighting to the end and never giving his opponent a free point. Which is why criticism of friend Bernard Tomic's lack of effort has been hard to take.
Canberra Velocity will benefit from Kyrgios's fighting spirit when they play their first game of the new Asia-Pacific Tennis League in Sydney on Tuesday.
Kyrgios, 17, and Tomic, 20, became mates when the Canberra product was an orange boy for the Davis Cup team earlier this year.
With only a few years separating the two, Kyrgios said Tomic was the one he got to know the best, although the rest of the squad were all ''good guys''.
But Tomic has come under increased scrutiny this year for his behaviour on and off the court.
He was recently found guilty of failing to stop for police while driving and has been criticised for appearing to give up during some matches. Kyrgios said it didn't change what he thought of his mate, but admitted the lack of effort wasn't a good look.
''He's a bit of a troublemaker, but he hasn't done too bad for Australian tennis .. I think he just needs to knuckle down a bit mentally,'' he said. ''That's the main thing, not giving 100 per cent every time, especially representing Australia, it's a bit bad I think, but I'm sure he's in it for the long journey and I'm sure he'll learn from it.''
Kyrgios has had the past week off after winning the Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan, but he got back into the swing of things on Friday.
He took the ACT's talent stars - Canberra's best young players between five and eight - for a training session, before having a hit with the Velocity squad.
The Daramalan student has had a standout year, winning junior doubles titles at the French Open and Wimbledon. It will be a different vibe playing in the ATL, compared with Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows.
''You've got to forget about those things while you're playing and just focus on your game,'' Kyrgios said.
''My opponents are probably going to be a little better than the guys that I've been playing in the juniors so I've got to be ready.''